A sommelier or a wine aficionado can distinguish between a dry red wine and full-bodied red wine without breaking a sweat, and they probably know what causes the difference in texture and difference too. But novices like us need to read up. A recent study shed more light on this. According to the study, the tannin structure, concentration, and interactions with saliva and other wine components influence the perception of dryness.
Tannin is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. The research group said that the dryness experienced while drinking wine is lined to tannins. However, they were not able to pinpoint the exact process the molecules create characteristic mouthfeel over time
This dry sensation is also known as astringency. It refers to a puckering or rough feeling in the mouth upon drinking wine. That wine drinkers experience astringency when tannins and salivary proteins interact, aggregate and precipitate making the mouth drier is a known fact for scientists.
The research team wanted to further explore the workings of tannins from two different wines interact with other characteristics of the beverages, as well as with salivary proteins, to influence dryness perception.
As part of the study, a team of researchers extracted the tannins from a dry wine called Cabernet Sauvignon, and a less-dry red wine called Cabernet Sauvignon.
The analysis helped the, find that the Cabernet Sauvignon contained more, larger and more highly pigmented tannins than the Pinot Noir, and these tannins formed more protein aggregates in saliva.
Trained sensory panelists perceived Cabernet as dryer, with a longer-lasting dryness than the Pinot.
Interestingly, when the opposite type of tannin was put into Cabernet or Pinot wines, the panelists could not detect differences in dryness.
So, for example, when Cabernet tannins were added to a Pinot wine, the drink appeared to have the same dryness as the original Pinot.
However, when Cabernet tannins were added to a model wine (ethanol and tartaric acid in water), panelists rated the dryness intensity and duration higher than that of the original model wine.
Therefore, the distinctive aromas of the two red wines likely influenced the panelists' perception of dryness, preventing them from noticing the added tannins.